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SPIVA® Europe Scorecard

The Results Are In

SPIVA® Europe Scorecard

S&P Dow Jones Indices has been the de facto scorekeeper of the ongoing active versus passive debate since the first publication of the S&P Indices Versus Active Funds (SPIVA) U.S. Scorecard in 2002.  The SPIVA Europe Scorecard measures the performance of actively managed European equity funds denominated in euro (EUR), British pound sterling (GBP), and other European local currencies against the performance of their respective S&P DJI benchmark indices over 1-, 3-, 5-, and 10-year investment horizons.


  • Over the one-year period ending June 30, 2019, 90% of active pan-European equity funds underperformed their passive benchmarks.
    • The group’s asset-weighted return for the period was negative, while the S&P Europe 350® benchmark was up 5.3%.
  • Emerging market equity funds domiciled in Europe bucked the trend over the one-year period compared with other active fund categories, with 52% of GBP- and 42% of EUR-denominated funds outperforming their benchmark.
    • Despite their notable performance over the one-year period, 87% of GBP- and 95% of EUR-denominated emerging market equity funds underperformed their benchmark over the 10-year period ending June 30, 2019.
    • Additionally, on an asset-weighted basis, the EUR-denominated emerging market equity fund category underperformed its benchmark by over 2% annually over the same 10-year period.
  • Markets continued to contend with global trade tensions that have contributed to an economic slowdown in Germany, Europe’s largest exporter.  German equity was the only euro-denominated fund category in which the benchmark, the S&P Germany BMI, experienced negative returns over the one-year period, at -1.2%.
    • Active funds investing in Germany were largely unable to outmaneuver the downtrend and delivered a return of -4.4% on an asset-weighted basis over the same period.
  • The steep declines seen across equity markets in late 2018 were accompanied by near-ubiquitous underperformance across the fund categories’ asset-weighted returns. As markets improved in the first half of 2019, active managers were generally not able to make up for lost ground.  Among the 23 categories of active funds domiciled in Europe, all but three underperformed over the one-year period ending June 30, 2019.
    • Most notably, active funds over the one-year period in:
      • French equities were down 2.6% (8.8% below the S&P France BMI); and
      • Spanish equities were down 7.1% (8.0% below the S&P Spain BMI).
    • It has been over three years since the Brexit referendum was held on June 23, 2016. In the three-year period from mid 2016, UK small-cap equity funds outperformed the S&P United Kingdom SmallCap by 3.4% per year on an asset-weighted basis.  The past year, however, marked a stark reversal, with the same category underperforming the benchmark by 3.7% on the same basis.
      • Over the three-year period, 70% of UK small-cap funds outperformed their benchmark, which was the highest rate among all fund categories. Other active UK equity categories also fared well over the period.
      • Over the more recent one-year period, fund managers were largely unable to capitalize on the looming Brexit uncertainty, with 80% of all UK-focused funds underperforming their benchmarks.
    • From the perspective of a European investor, U.S. and global equity markets significantly outperformed the local markets. A strong U.S. dollar persisted over the one-year period and contributed to the S&P 500® and S&P Global 1200 increasing 13.2% and 9.9% in euro terms, respectively.
      • Of those active funds domiciled in Europe, fewer than 16% covering U.S. equities or 13% covering global equities were able to outperform their benchmark over the one-year period.
      • These figures declined to fewer than 3% and 2%, respectively, over the 10-year period.

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